Our Voic­es on Val­ues research reveals that open soci­ety val­ues have broad­er sup­port among Euro­peans than often assumed. The data demon­strates that the com­mon assump­tion that peo­ple are either for or against open soci­ety val­ues is not true for the major­i­ty of Euro­peans.

Using robust ana­lyt­i­cal tools, the Voic­es on Val­ues project con­duct­ed an empir­i­cal assess­ment of how Euro­peans rate open soci­ety val­ues and oth­er con­cerns that are increas­ing­ly por­trayed as being in con­tra­dic­tion to those val­ues. The researchers sur­veyed and inter­viewed more than 6,000 peo­ple across Ger­many, France, Hun­gary, Poland, Italy and Greece using an exper­i­men­tal design that test­ed both rank­ing of val­ues, coher­ence between val­ues sets and poten­tial trade-offs against oth­er con­cerns. The results reveal that open soci­ety val­ues have broad­er sup­port among Euro­peans than often assumed and that the com­mon assump­tion that peo­ple are either for or against open soci­ety val­ues is not true for the major­i­ty of Euro­peans. 

Instead, many Euro­peans val­ue both val­ues asso­ci­at­ed with open soci­eties — such as free­dom of expres­sion, free­dom of reli­gion and press free­dom — and also char­ac­ter­is­tics com­mon­ly asso­ci­at­ed with more closed soci­eties, such as eth­no­cen­tric cit­i­zen­ship mod­els and a strong focus on the pro­tec­tion of nation­al inter­ests and val­ues at the expense of minori­ties. By chal­leng­ing com­mon pre­con­cep­tions about people’s val­ues, our find­ings offer pol­i­cy-mak­ers and civ­il soci­ety a chance to engage with cit­i­zens more effec­tive­ly.

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